Shiva as we know him today shares many features with the Vedic god Rudra and both Shiva and Rudra are viewed as the same personality in a number of traditions. Rudra, the god of the roaring storm, is usually portrayed in accordance with the element he represents as a fierce, destructive deity.
The oldest surviving text of Hinduism is the Rig Veda, which is dated to between 1700–1100 BCE based on linguistic and philological evidence. A god named Rudra is mentioned in the Rig Veda. The name Rudra is still used as a name for Shiva. In RV 2.33 he is described as the "Father of the Maruts", a group of storm gods.
The identification of Shiva with the older god Rudra is not universally accepted, as Axel Michaels explains:
To what extent Siva's origins are in fact to be sought in Rudra is extremely unclear. The tendency to consider Siva an ancient god is based on this identification, even though the facts that justify such a far-reaching assumption are meager.
Rudra is called "The Archer" (Sanskrit: Sarva) and the arrow is an essential attribute of Rudra. This name appears in the Shiva Sahasranama, and R. K. Sharma notes that it is used as a name of Shiva often in later languages. The word is derived from the Sanskrit root sarv- which means "to injure" or "to kill" and Sharma uses that general sense in his interpretive translation of the name Sarva as "One who can kill the forces of darkness". The names Dhanvin("Bowman") and Baanahasta ("Archer", literally "Armed with arrows in his hands"), also refer to archery.